This was an experimental “pop-up” foray, organized with only a week’s notice after a generous offer from AMC members Carrie & Brandon to host a foray during a blank period on our calendar.
Sixteen members responded to the email and drove down to the “horse country” in Polk County. It was a warm, humid day but no rain in the forecast (for once), and after greeting the adorable puppy, Sophie, and the two friendly horses, we set off straight into the woods behind the house, featuring a big variety of hardwoods with some pines. We followed horse trails that wound around most confusingly but somehow Carrie and Brandon kept us under control despite plenty of distraction from the mushrooms, particularly the wealth of chanterelles. After a couple of hours we staggered back with loaded baskets for lunch and identification on our hosts’ shady porch.
Charlotte acted as principal identifier but got rather out of her depth in a lot of unfamiliar material. Laurie Jaegers, Frank Bartucca, and Dan Manning came to the rescue and we ended up with a more-than-respectable total of 76 identified species, and quite a lot more left on the table. Frank pinned down two insect parasites: Entomophthora muscae (new to the club) on a fly, and Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, an ant specialist, while Charlotte named another new species for the club: Hydnellum ferrugipes, a tooth fungus that features both gray-blue and orange tones. A lively email discussion among ID training group members resulted in the later addition of a third new species: Daedaliopsis septentrionalis, an unusual polypore with branching gills instead of pores. Thanks to Dave Jarjoura for researching it.
Everyone enjoyed themselves and we hope that Carrie & Brandon will have us back next year.
If we do another pop-up foray, anywhere, we need to have a car-pooling location pinned down before the email goes out, but otherwise it worked OK.